The New York Times article on November 26, 2022 (“They Were Surrogates. Now They Must Raise the Children.”) Sunday edition included an article about the legal challenges for surrogacy in Cambodia, which have resulted in women being forced to raise children they expected would be raised by their biological parent(s), while the intended parents are in turn being prosecuted for using a surrogate.
It is disturbing to read of the awful and wholly unjust determinations of parentage made by the Cambodian courts as they relate to intended parents from China and other countries who are simply trying to have babies to love and to raise. But the posture in Cambodia [as in so many other non-US locations] remains, even in 2022, a backwards interpretation of surrogacy as akin to baby selling. It is most assuredly not this. When conducted with the assistance of qualified medical, mental health and legal professionals, a commercial surrogacy relationship becomes protective and not at all exploitative. Unfortunately, some of the intended parents mentioned in this piece could have chosen to pursue surrogacy in the US and instead went to a closer venue. When selecting a location for surrogacy, proximity (and cost) ought not take priority over legal protections, medical sophistication and program experience.
Sanford M. Benardo, Esq.
Northeast Assisted Fertility Group, Inc.